North Macedonia (GPS: 41 50 N, 22 00 E) located in Southeastern Europe, north of Greece. The country’s area measurements are total: 25,713 sq km; land: 25,433 sq km, water: 280 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than Vermont. The total irrigated land is 1,280 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of North Macedonia: Landlocked (enclosed or nearly enclosed by land). Major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to the Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Skopje’s GPS coordinates are 42 00 N 21 26 E. Skopje’s local time is 6 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+1, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.
North Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991 under the name of “Macedonia.” Greek objection to the new country’s name, insisting it implied territorial pretensions to the northern Greek province of Macedonia and democratic backsliding for several years, stalled the country’s movement toward Euro-Atlantic integration. After Macedonia declared independence, Greece sought to block Macedonian efforts to gain UN membership if the name “Macedonia” was used. The country was eventually admitted to the UN in 1993 as “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” At the same time, it agreed to UN-sponsored negotiations on the name dispute.
In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo, and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, but the issue of the name remained unresolved, and negotiations for a solution continued. Over time, the US and over 130 other nations recognized Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. Ethnic Albanian grievances over perceived political and economic inequities escalated into a conflict in 2001 that eventually led to the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting and established guidelines for constitutional amendments. New laws enhanced the rights of minorities. In January 2018, the government adopted a new law on languages, which elevated the Albanian language to an official language at the national level. The Macedonian language remained the sole official language in international relations. Relations between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians remain complicated, however.
North Macedonia’s pro-Western government has used its time in office since 2017 to sign a historic deal with Greece in June 2018 to end the name dispute and revive Skopje’s NATO and EU membership prospects. This followed a nearly three-year political crisis that engulfed the country but ended in June 2017 following a six-month-long government formation period after a closely contested election in December 2016. The problem began after the 2014 legislative and presidential election and escalated in 2015 when the opposition party began releasing wiretapped material that revealed alleged widespread government corruption and abuse. Although an EU candidate since 2005, North Macedonia has yet to open EU accession negotiations. The country still faces challenges, including fully implementing reforms to overcome democratic backsliding and stimulating economic growth and development. In June 2018, Macedonia and Greece signed the Prespa Accord, whereby the Republic of Macedonia agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Following ratification by both countries, the agreement went into force on 12 February 2019. North Macedonia signed an accession protocol to become a NATO member state in February 2019.
North Macedonia’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Macedonia, standard short form: North Macedonia, local long form: Republika Makedonija, local short state: Makedonija. Note: the provisional designation used by the UN, EU, and NATO is the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM), former: The people’s Republic of Macedonia, Socialist Republic of Macedonia, etymology: the country name derives from the ancient kingdom of Macedon (7th to 2nd centuries B.C.). The country name derives from the ancient kingdom of Macedon (7th to 2nd centuries B.C.).
North Macedonia’s terrain is typically mountainous with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River. The country’s mean elevation: 741 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Vardar River 50 m, highest point: Golem Korab (Maja e Korabit) 2,764 m.
The general climate in the country; warm, dry summers and autumns: relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.
The total number of border countries is 5, Albania 181 km, Bulgaria 162 km, Greece 234 km, Kosovo 160 km, Serbia 101 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. North Macedonia’s coastline is 0 km (landlocked country), while its marital claims are: none. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 44.3%; arable land 16.4%; permanent crops 1.4%; permanent pasture 26.5%; forest: 39.8%; other: 15.9% (2011 estimate).
The population in North Macedonia 2,118,945 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 57.1% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: SKOPJE (capital) 503,000 (2015), while North Macedonia has a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations. Their spoken languages are: Macedonian (official language) 66.5%, Albanian (official language) 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Roma 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8% (2002 estimate). Main religions in North Macedonia are Macedonian Orthodox 64.8%, Muslim 33.3%, other Christian 0.4%, other and unspecified 1.5% (2002 estimate). The nation uses civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 8 September (1991), also known as National Day.
Economic overview for the country: Since its independence in 1991, North Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment. Its low tax rates and free economic zones have helped attract foreign investment, which is still low relative to Europe’s. Corruption and the weak rule of law remain significant problems. Some businesses complain of opaque regulations and unequal enforcement of the law. North Macedonia’s economy is closely linked to Europe as a customer for exports and investment sources and has suffered from prolonged weakness in the eurozone.
Unemployment has remained consistently high at about 23%. Still, it may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be between 20% and 45% of GDP, which is not captured by official statistics. North Macedonia is working to build a country-wide natural gas pipeline and distribution network. Currently, North Macedonia receives its small natural gas supplies from Russia via Bulgaria. In 2016, North Macedonia signed a memorandum of understanding with Greece to build an interconnector that could connect to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline that will traverse the region once complete, or to an LNG import terminal in Greece.
North Macedonia maintained macroeconomic stability through the global financial crisis by conducting prudent monetary policy, which keeps the domestic currency pegged to the euro and inflation at a low level. However, in the last two years, the internal political crisis has hampered economic performance, with GDP growth slowing in 2016 and 2017, and both domestic private and public investments are declining. Fiscal policies were lax, with unproductive public expenditures, including subsidies and pension increases, and rising guarantees for state-owned enterprises’ debt and budgetary targets were consistently missed. In 2017, public debt stabilized at about 47% of GDP, still relatively low compared to its Western Balkan neighbors and Europe.
Natural resources of North Macedonia: low-grade iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, manganese, nickel, tungsten, gold, silver, asbestos, gypsum, timber, arable land.
Main export partners for North Macedonia, Europe are Germany 33.2%, Kosovo 11.5%, Bulgaria 5.1%, Greece 4.5% (2015) for foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco; textiles, miscellaneous manufactures, iron, steel; automotive parts, while the main import partners for the country are: Germany 15.9%, UK 13.6%, Greece 10.9%, Serbia 8.7%, Bulgaria 6.7%, Turkey 5.5%, Italy 4.7% (2015) for machinery and equipment, automobiles, chemicals, fuels, food products.
When you visit this country in Europe, consider the natural hazards in North Macedonia: High seismic risks, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that North Macedonia faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution from metallurgical plants, Skopje has severe air pollution problems every winter due to industrial emissions, smoke from wood-burning stoves, and exhaust fumes from old cars.